The Lamplighters, an international movement for recovery from incest and childhood sexual abuse, currently have six chapters in Africa; two in Nigeria, one in Sudan, one in Kenya and one in Tunisia. We have two more getting ready to start up in the near future. They are both in Nigeria; that will bring our total to eight. It is not enough. Africa is a hell on earth for women. Millions of women and girls are enslaved. Girls are kidnapped as young as seven and eight years old, and then sold into slavery. There are already many organizations that fight sexual slavery: Equality Now, Shared Hope International and Vital Voices. There needs to be more. Tabby Biddle, M.S.Ed, a writer/editor dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls states, "If we continue to allow the torture and subjugation of girls, we will be continually creating circumstances for hatred and war. Instead we need to use our energy to create a global movement to emancipate women and girls from sexual slavery."
In eastern Congo, the prevalence and intensity of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world. It is estimated that there are as many as 200,000 surviving rape victims living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo today. War rape in the DPC has frequently been described as a "weapon of war" by commentators. Louise Nzigire, a local soical worker, states that "this violence was designed to exterminate the population. Nzigire observes that rape has been a "cheap, simple weapon for all parties in the war, more easily obtainable than bullets or bombs".
What can be done? These women all need to be REPAIRed. Webster says......"Repair means to restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken; to restore to a sound and healthy state." Isn't that what needs to be done? A part of them has been torn. It has been broken and they need it fixed. All of my facilitators in Africa are trying to do that. It isn't easy. We're talking about a cycle of violence. These children have mothers who were raped and grandmothers who have been raped. Children of an untreated child sexual abuse victim stand a five times greater chance of being raped themselves. We must get the women into a recovery program to save the children.
I am on the Board of Directors for a foundation called, Let Go, Let Peace Come In. They are trying to do exactly what Ms. Biddle wants; creating a World Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse. We are looking for non profit organizations, one in every continent that will send us a representative for our next board meeting. That means we need seven. At last count we had four but we'll locate the other three. Then every representatives will go back home and find a representative from each country. It's a brilliant plan put together by our President and Founder, Peter Pelullo. According to the research of Kristof and WuDunn, they estimate that there are three million women and girls (and a very small number of boys) worldwide who are enslaved in the sex trade. Helping these people is an enormous challenge. Between the Lamplighters working to locate other facilitators to bring a immediate help to the women in their chapters (working the REPAIR program and attending Lamplighter meetings) and Let Go, Let Peace Come In working to find representatives for our World Alliance we have a chance.